Sappelt up, Heisey down, Cozart still out
The Dave Sappelt show debuted in Chicago yesterday, starting in left and leading off. He went one for five, scored a run, and made a nifty running catch near the line to rob Geovany Soto of extra bases. Sappelt takes the place of Chris Heisey, who's now on the DL with a strained oblique - the same injury that sidelined the 24 year-old Sappelt earlier this year. Even with the injury he slashed .313/.377/.458 in Louisville. In a lost season, it's nice to see an obviously deserving young player get the call: "I just couldn't stop smiling. I was ordering food, a hamburger and fries, when I found out. I think I ate about two fries. It's a moment I'll always remember." Dusty was impressed with Sappelt and Todd Frazier, who homered and drove in the tying run yesterday: "That's why they're here. They ain't here to paint. They're here to play ball." Paint ... ball ... hey, I just got an idea!
- Meanwhile, the news on Zack Cozart isn't good. The Wizard of Coz had to "shut it down" during BP this weekend following his elbow injury a couple of weeks ago. And speaking of BP, Brandon Phillips sat out yesterday with a sore ankle suffered on Saturday. Drew Stubbs nearly ran smack into Phillips on a shallow pop fly but dove to the ground at the last second, taking out BP's feet instead of knockin' into his noggin. Also, Alonso was held out of Sunday's lineup with a sore right ankle. He GIDP'd as a pinch hitter in the 8th.
Daugherty - Time for Reds to wave white flag
I don't agree with everything in Doc's prognosis, but I can certainly get behind the overarching message - play the kids. But the interesting point in here concerns Dusty Baker's job security, which I have not seen questioned anywhere by the mainstream media: "They need to decide what to do with Dusty Baker. This might seem obvious. Baker has a year and about $3 million to go on a two-year extension. But he isn’t universally admired in the executive offices, and his season has mirrored the team’s.... He provided the proper, soft touch last year. He had lieutenants in the clubhouse do some of the heavy lifting. Two of those lieutenants – Arthur Rhodes and Orlando Cabrera – are gone." It's worth remembering that Baker was Krivsky's hire, not Walt's.
In the Reds' 2011 obituary, the lack of health and production at 3B will be noted at some point following the curses for Pythagorus. Around these parts we've raised the team's failure to find a proficient caddy for Scott Rolen last winter, but what if he had never been a Red in the first place? Sure, we might not have won the division crown in 2010, but that's yesterday's news. This year, Edwin Encarnacion has hit .277/.326/.446 while playing in baseball's toughest division. Of course, his bat never was the primary concern. I haven't seen him play at all since the trade, but E5 seems to have improved at the hot corner, at least according to Total Zone. But his fielding percentage has actually worsened, and since errors rather than range was always the issue, I'm not sure whether he's made any defensive advances. Sample size caveats apply, of course.
So what I'm driving at is, would the Reds be better in 2011 with Edwin instead of Rolen? What if the Reds had moved EdE to LF?
More "what if" - Yonder Alonso draft edition
Draft Studies 101 tells us that you always pick the best available talent and disregard position. But are there exceptions? The Reds didn't think so when they selected 1B Yonder Alonso with the seventh pick in the 2008 draft. But let's review the situation at the time: By June 2008, Joey Votto had played about half a year with the big league club and looked like the keeper he is, OPSing about .900. Defensively, Alonso was considered limited to 1B. (And while I admire the creativity, the idea of moving Alonso to 3B strains credulity.)
It's easy to play this game with perfect hindsight, but I wonder if the Reds should have gone another route with Votto under team control for the next five plus seasons at the time of the draft. Immediately after Alonso went, the White Sox drafted infielder Gordon Beckham. Later that round, the Brewers selected 3B Brett Lawrie and the Indians took 3B Lonnie Chisenhall. All three have reached the majors. The point here is not to criticize the Reds' talent evaluation, as there are obviously many other picks that round that will never be as good as Alonso. The point concerns drafting philosophy, specifically whether the conventional wisdom is correct without exception. The counterpoint is that you can always trade a player, but I think it's harder to realize fair value in trades then we care to admit.
Phillies, Giants erupt for Friday Night Fights
There's video here of the brawl if you haven't seen it, but I'm linking it because Eli Whiteside's gray hair belies an immaturity that a contending team shouldn't tolerate behind the plate. But at this late hour, where could they find a seasoned receiver who swings a hot bat? One with playoff experience? Surely they would be willing to part with something of value as Arizona breathes down their neck.
Sam LeCure and the French Connection
Overseas Baseball Fan tries to uncover the mystery behind the nationality of LeCure's forefathers: There are two possibilities. First originally it was LaCure, which means the treatment. It is a feminine noun so it has the article "la" and not "le" which would be for a masculine noun (isn’t French a nice and easy language to learn???). Or it was LeCuré – the accent got lost in history- and the significance of it is: the priest. Since it’s your name, you can choose the one you prefer. Ooooh wait La Cure is also a river in France and a town in Switzerland… for what it’s worth. I kinda like "the priest" as an alternate nickname for Sudden Samwow, who is frequently summoned to the mound to administer last rites to helpless opposing hitters.
RL Nation gets some intel on the Nats prospects from the Gomes trade
As they point out, the primary objective of the trade was to clear a spot for Yonder Alonso. But LHP Chris Manno, a Duke grad who was closing for Washington's low-A affiliate, looks to have some upside: "Manno, on the other hand, has real potential to be a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen. He is still very young, and there is a world of difference between low single A and the big leagues, but any lefty with a few pitches, a great attitude and a track record of success is a welcome addition to the club." He also has a 14.8 K/9 ratio in his young minor league career. RL Nation talked to Manno's former pitching coach for this piece, who is none other than former Red Chris Michalak.
Vada Pinson - the historical "what if"
Linked at BBTF, Baseball: Past and Present asks what era would have been most ideal for Vada Pinson, the Reds' CF for most of the 1960s. Its answer is the 1970s and 1980s, which rewarded speed and wasn't the offensive Death Valley of the mid to late 1960s. But for a guy that slowed down considerably in his late twenties, maybe playing on Astroturf isn't such a great idea. So how about the present day? The LHB Pinson could smack 30 HRs a year in GABP, and his speed would make him the second SB threat that the current Reds could certainly use. Slot him in LF, and you'd have a dream outfield. The ultimate what-if.